A good, solid machine, great to learn to make espresso on.
Positive Product Points
The silvia looks good and is build solid. Its large boiler is very handy when serving guests. As an espresso newbie, it allows me to improve my skills without having to swap to a better machine in the future.
Negative Product Points
For a coffee newbie, it is a bit finicky. As it is not matched with the Rocky grinder, it takes a few shots to figure out the proper tamp for a given coffee grind. So far, my issues are all operator related. A minor nitpit: Rancillio should include a tamper with the proper diameter for its filters. The plastic one that is included makes tamping a not so pleasant affair.
I have never made espresso (not sure if I can claim that I am making espresso yet :-) before purchasing the Silvia. I was looking for a machine that I was not going to quickly outgrow and with the potential of making good espresso once in capable hands.
I purchased mine from www.wholelattelove.com in Oct '99. It was shipped to me in the US whilst on a business trip. Its total cost in canadian dollars, including shipping within the US, and duty charges was $645.